When data security is a matter of life and death
As chaos engulfed the Middle East at the beginning of the new millennium, news of human rights violations spread through Western media.
The Jiyan Foundation was established in 2005 to provide medical and mental health services to these victims of genocide and torture.
Helping thousands of victims every year to cope with their traumatic experiences, the Foundation employs more than 130 people. Psychologists, doctors, and social workers in the field are supported by the Foundation's back office and financial teams, who keep the organization running from Germany and Iraq.
Data the Foundation manages contains privately identifiable information about the victims of torture and persecution. Its security can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Security slows the team down
Leif Hinrichsen joined the Foundation's finance team right out of university. He wanted to help people, not just to crunch numbers all day.
But he found that crucial time was wasted on the outdated internal file server that secured the Foundation's files. The team often worked from remote locations, and they couldn't access the file server remotely for security reasons. Colleagues had to phone each other daily to get certain files in email, then take extra time to upload new changes to the server when they got back to the office. The latest file versions had to be tracked down among numerous devices or dug out of derelict email threads.
This was slowing the team down. Before people defaulted to a less secure way of handling files - like email - Leif started looking for alternatives.
Years before, the Jiyan team has tried moving into the cloud and they set up a Dropbox account. They were briefly happy with the fast file storage and sharing it provided. But then Edward Snowden's revelations forced them to abandon Dropbox, feeling it insecure for the highly delicate data they work with.
Learning from that experience, Leif started searching for a new alternative and found Tresorit. Tresorit's still unclaimed, $50,000 hacker bounty convinced the Jiyan team that their data would be safe. But after the fiasco with Wuala and the internal file server, Leif had a hard time believing that a secure service can also be easy to use. As his last hope was Tresorit, he signed up for a free trial with some trepidation.
A swift and secure workspace, anywhere
To Leif's immense relief, there was no employee resistance when the Foundation moved to Tresorit. "The team is really liking Tresorit. It fits the way we work, and that's the most important if you want everyone to adopt a new solution". He says Tresorit's sometimes even better than Dropbox. "You can sync data to a device, but also keep everything in the cloud, syncing files only when you need them."
Currently, the whole financial team at Jiyan Foundation is using Tresorit to access and share financial and personal data about victims. The Foundation's internal file server has been mirrored to Tresorit, which allows employees to access and edit files from anywhere securely.
Confidential data like victims' personally identifiable information is only shared through Tresorit. The team also uses it for files that are too large for email attachments. In total, about a 100GBs of documents are housed in Tresorit's secure cloud.
Now that the team is growing steadily more accustomed to Tresorit, the next big step will be securing email communications with the use of more advanced Tresorit features. Tresorit can be used to create secure links to each file in the cloud, allowing the user to protect them with additional passwords, expiry dates or download limitations. The Jiyan team is planning to send all sensitive files via a link, instead of attaching them directly to the emails. "They have not yet been replaced entirely, but this is likely to change soon." - says Leif.
Leif says his team loves that they can use Tresorit just as they used Dropbox, without having to worry about putting the victims they're helping in danger. "Tresorit truly is as safe as it gets, but is actually really easy to use".
About Jiyan Foundation
The Jiyan Foundation supports survivors of human rights violations, promotes democratic values and defends fundamental freedoms in Kurdistan-Iraq.
Need to protect data about victims of human rights violations
No trust in the cloud after Edward Snowden's revelations
File server's security slows the remote team down
The team is even more productive with Tresorit than Dropbox
Files are accessed and edited remotely without putting data at risk
No security hiccups since storing and sharing with Tresorit